Two rising 17-year-old New England modified stars will help decide the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division III championship this weekend.
Bryan Narducci and Marcello Rufrano, two drivers that compete in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut, have combined to win 11 of the 19 events at the half-mile.
With a win last Friday, Narducci jumped to the lead in the Division III championship standings by six points over Billy Gregg, who competes at Bowman Gray Stadium. Rufrano is 30 points back in third.
RACING REFERENCE – NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES NATIONAL STANDINGS:
In 19 starts at Stafford, Narducci has five wins, 15 top fives and 16 top 10s with a total of 490 points. Gregg, who has four wins and 14 top five finishes of his own, is just six back, but Bowman Gray is done racing for the season.
Rufrano, who has six wins in his 19 Stafford starts, was leading the last two feature events into the final turn but lost the advantage to Narducci before the field hit the checkered flag. Rufrano drives a car out of the same stable as former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national Champion Keith Rocco and is also a competitor in the Division I SK Modified class at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Both Narducci and Rufrano will also help decide the UNOH Youth Achievement championship this weekend. Narducci leads Rufrano by just six points. Because Rufrano has also competed at Thompson in the Divsion I SK Modified, his point total in the UNOH standings also includes a win, a fourth and a sixth there.
The UNOH Youth Achievement Award is open to NASCAR drivers between the ages of 14-17, and drivers may accumulate points until their 18th birthday. These standings are based on the best 14 finishes regardless of division.
Rufrano may be too far out to catch Narducci in Division III. His worst finish of his 14 was a ninth on June 14. Even a win from 10th on back Friday would only get him to 481. He would need to find another Divisoin III race somewhere on Saturday or Sunday.
However, when you factor in Rufrano’s Division I finishes for the UNOH Youth Achievement national title, it’s a different story. Assuming 18 or more SK Light Modifieds Friday at Stafford:
- If Rufrano finishes third and Narducci finishes fourth or worse, they tie at 490 and Rufrano wins the tiebreaker on wins (7-5)
- Rufrano also wins the title with a win or finishing runner-up to anyone other than Narducci.
- And Narducci takes home the UNOH national title if he finishes ahead of Rufrano, or if Rufrano finishes outside the top three.
Travis Billington, who races a dirt Modified at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Vermont, has five wins and 14 top fives in 17 starts for 456 points in the UNOH national standings.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower. Division II through V and the UNOH Youth Achievement Award are determined by a driver’s best 14 NASCAR points finishes.
POINT STANDINGS: UNOH LEADERS TRACK BY TRACK
Other Titles On The Line
Cody Jolly is well on his way to the Division II championship. Jolly, who competes at Oklahoma’s Thunderbird Speedway, Salina Highbanks Speedway and Kansas’ Humboldt Speedway, has 66-point advantage over Billington entering the final weekend. Across 30 starts, Jolly has 14 wins, 21 top fives and 27 top 10s across the three ovals on the dirt.
Kevin Neal and Michael Adams, who both compete at Bowman Gray Stadium and Caraway Speedway, are third and fourth. Joey Roberts, who joins Billington at Devil’s Bowl, has five wins of his own and rounds out the top five.
In Division IV action, Nathan Campbell added a seventh victory to his resume last weekend and opened his advantage over Corey Holtzlander to eight points. Campbell, who competes at Salina and Thunderbird on the dirt, picked up his most recent victory at Salina in the S&J Plumbing Pure Stock division. Campbell has seven wins, 16 top fives and 16 top 10s across 16 starts at two the tracks.
POINT STANDINGS: Salina Highbanks Speedway
On the asphalt, Holtzlander has 11 victories at Berlin in the 4-Cylinder division, along with 18 top five finishes. He has a total of 495 points. Kaleb Shepard, Joshua Shive and Justin Roelofs round out the top five.
Luke Ramsey has also been dominant on the dirt this season. Between I-80 Speedway and Adams County in Nebraska and Iowa, Ramsey has 21 wins, 37 top fives and 42 top 10s in his 46 starts. He has a total of 481 points to lead Division V, but there is a pair of drivers looking to close in.
Chris Vannausdle, who joins Ramsey at both tracks, has five wins in 27 starts and is 27 points from the top. George Bessette Jr., who has four wins in 19 Street Stock events at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway, is also 27 points out.